Livorno’s hopes of escaping the drop took a massive blow, as Alberto Paloschi’s hat-trick gave Chievo victory.
This was a relegation decider, as the Amaranto were third-from-bottom on 25 points and the Flying Donkeys only two points above them. Andrea Luci and Ibrahima Mbaye were out for the hosts, though Emerson was available for the bench. Eugenio Corini had a full squad to choose from and threw Cyril Thereau back into the starting XI.
It was a special game for Mimmo Di Carlo, who was sacked by Chievo last season. There were also banners in the stands to mark the anniversary of Livorno player Piermario Morosini’s death.
Livorno took the early lead when a cross was whipped in from the right and not cleared properly by Nicolas Frey, turning into an assist for Luca Siligardi’s free header at the back post.
The Amaranto had barely finished celebrating when Chievo drew level. It was another poor clearance and the ball was knocked back into the middle, where Alberto Paloschi was alert to hit the half-volley, anticipating the goalkeeper.
Chievo turned the game around completely when Thereau was allowed a completely free header from 10 yards, steered into the far bottom corner on Paloschi’s cross.
Paulinho was tripped from behind by Dario Dainelli and a penalty awarded, which the Brazilian got back on his feet to convert. Chievo were furious, as they felt the ball had already gone out of play and replays suggest they were right.
Paloschi found the net again to put the Flying Donkeys back in front, smartly flicking in a Perparim Hetemaj low cross with his heel from four yards, surprising defence and goalkeeper.
After the restart Paloschi wanted to complete his hat-trick on the counter, but Francesco Bardi stuck up an arm and charged down the chip with his elbow. From the resulting corner, Bardi flapped a Rigoni effort out from under the bar in a fantastic fingertip save.
Ivan Radovanovic earned a penalty when he fell under pressure from Djamel Mesbah and Paolo Castellini, though Livorno were furious at the decision. Paloschi blasted his spot-kick into the top corner to complete a hat-trick.
It wasn’t over, as Radovanovic and Paulinho had efforts saved, then Alfred Duncan’s powerful shot was beaten away. Bardi kept the scoreline down in stoppages on a Victor Obinna counter-attack.